We had the good fortune of connecting with Roo Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Roo, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
My work life balance is more important now than ever before. When I first began my career as an adventure filmmaker I admittedly had a pretty poor balance since I felt like I needed to work as often as I could to bring in opportunities and income. However, that often left me feeling burnt out and overwhelmed – a headspace that didn’t lead to any productive or healthy routines. The more experienced I became in the filmmaking community the more I began to understand how important it is for me to pursue things other than filmmaking. My identity is more than what I do for work. I’m also a musician, athlete, surfer, rock climber, snowboarder, brother, uncle, and friend. Over the past few years, my hobbies and identities outside of filmmaking have all become a part of my process to create high quality films. Because I specialize in documentaries, I’m able to connect with people on a deeper level since I often have a shared passion with the people I work with.
As a lifelong snowboarder, I’m capable of filming and riding at the same time to create a short film about an adaptive ski sports athlete at Eldora Ski Resort teaching others with disabilities how to ski. As a songwriter and musician, I can speak the language of music to a professional Nashville based artist who I’m create a documentary about as he trains for the Ironman World Championships while writing and recording his second full-length album. My ability to rock climb allowed me to work on a climbing expedition film in Mexico a few weeks ago.
It’s all so intertwined for me now that if I begin to lose that work life balance, my quality of life really begins to decrease. I used to spend 8-10 hours a day, 7 days a week, at a computer editing, sending emails, adjusting my website, planning videos, etc. Now, it’s important for me to make sure that I’m making time to pursue my passion for music, train in the climbing gym, hit the trails with friends and have game nights with my community because without that balance, I’m not able to bring the best version of myself forward to the people who’s stories I feel so lucky to share.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As a filmmaker and photographer, I’m most proud to be sharing stories that I believe are making the world a brighter, more positive, joyful and empathic place. For me, I want to bring a sense of love, hope, joy and adventure through in the films and photos I create. I’m most excited about the projects that push me in that direction.
I feel very fortunate to have started working in the filmmaking industry relatively early and in an environment in which it was okay to fail and try to new things. I didn’t study film in college but instead starting taking on freelance clients and jobs my Sophomore year so, by the time I graduated, I felt I had built up a portfolio and network that really helped in my success. I wouldn’t say it was easy to get to where I’m at now since it took a lot of hard work and unforeseen challenges, especially on the business side of filmmaking, that required some grit and patience.
As a freelancer, I’m never sure where the money is going to come from – which for a while was really difficult to mentally prepare. I wouldn’t make money for two months then suddenly would get one video project that paid for a whole year of rent. That sort of inconsistency was really challenging, as I personally never handled the unknown very well but I think that’s all changed now. The longer I’ve been doing this, the more I’ve seen that if you put yourself out there and continue to network, make passion projects, and hone your skills the magic comes in the unknown. There’s never a clear path to success and there will obviously be low moments but I really believe that if you’re passionate about what you do, it’s worth pursuing. Even if you have to work another job or are limited to just working weekends on your passions, I think the world needs more people doing what they love.
I think that’s the biggest element of my work that I want people to know. I tell stories of passionate people pursuing what they love in the outdoors. I’ve discovered that takes all shapes and forms, from a documentary about a mountain guide in Colorado Springs training for his international guiding certification or a group of high school students building a giant canoe with their teachers in the small mountain town of Bailey, Colorado. I think the world needs more joy, so I’m here to share it.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to dedicate this opportunity to my family. I’m the youngest of three older sisters who all pursued their passions and are helping the world become a brighter and more beautiful place – each in their own way. Without them, I wouldn’t know that making a positive impact in the world can be your profession as well as your passion
Other: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org